Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Prayer



I took this picture a few years ago... It was in Lourdes and I was just about to go off to seminary. One of the hardest pilgrimages I've ever made...




I had allowed myself to become fairly uptight. I had been so concerned about the liturgy, the doctrine, the vestments... All things we should be vigilant about; but I had allowed that to take the stage and Christ had taken second place.




I remember praying at that very spot that I hoped I could make a difference to the Church... What I forgot to pray for was that I wanted to receive the grace from God in order to do it.

So often we become 'obsessed' with things; bishops appointments, what the parish priest was wearing, what the lace looked like at mass... Yet, do we take the time to get to know God? To we actually bother about proposing Jesus to the world?




If we do, then we need to let God change our lives, we need to let God penetrate our very being. Otherwise, we are all lace and no knickers.




I'm not against lace, beauty in the liturgy, solemnity and silence. I'm all for it. But at this present time, I feel there is a quiet movement in the Church which has forgotten what being a Catholic is all about. At times I hear more about the liturgy than I do God, and that concerns me... Are those concerns unfounded? Are those concerns without merit?




If I was speaking to a mate in the pub, and I said to them 'did you see the fiddleback the priest was wearing?' he'd look at me and tell me I was an idiot. For the average person today, they go to Mass out of a cultural obligation, or the last burning embers of a faith they don't really know or understand. We need to go out into the world with the message of hope.




In St. Peters letter on Sunday, we heard him say we must be brave when people come to ask what the cause of our hope is? Am I going to say the cause of my joy is Jesus Christ and His Church? Or am I going to say 'well the pope wore a beautiful cope the other day'.




The liturgy is meant to help us see God more clearly, to give us a sense of God, the Holy, the reverence... It's extremely important we get it right. Yet we cant allow ourselves to become angry, bitter and so on. The SSPX have done that and now look at them calling the Pope an anti Semite (whatever happened to the saying of the fathers 'where there is Peter, there is the Church'?). Martin Luther tried to be a self appointed Peter too and look at the damage that he did.




We need to come into a closer union with Jesus Christ... For that, we have to take prayer seriously, but also we need to sometimes put up with the nonsense and get on with the work at hand. We are all called to become great saints, and just now there are more people in need of conversion than we know...



Prayer is how we will change the world and yes the Mass is the highest form of prayer, but that should make us fulfil our call to evangelize. Not to wet ourselves when the pope restores the Cardinal deacon or when the parish priest buys a biretta.




The beauty of the Mass should help us see the beauty of our faith and make us will to give everyone a share in joy of the truth.

8 comments:

Mark said...

Well said, JP! Though, I hope you don't equate SSPX and FSSP - two different groups.

N said...

Exactly. It's great to have beautiful liturgy, but he thing is that the ordinary people in the pews who appreciate intricacies of the liturgy tend to be those who are already converted. These are not our priority (not that they should be disregarded) but we need to rediscover an apostolic zeal to go out and bring back those whose faith is lost/weak/malformed. Let's stop looking at how we can make our sinking ship sink beautifully, and let's throw ourselves overboard to patch up the leaks in the hull.

John Paul said...

No, not at all Mark. I really value the work of the FSSP.

Richard said...

"If I was speaking to a mate in the pub, and I said to them 'did you see the fiddleback the priest was wearing?' he'd look at me and tell me I was an idiot."

You're going to the wrong pubs.

John Paul said...

Oops sorry. I didn't know there was pubs for Catholics. Would that be the white cope?

Mark said...

Heheheh.

Indeed; I did want to say I do speak to my friends in the pub about such things, but I was worried I was alone in that!

John Paul said...

It's important to bear in mind we all have trad friends, but I'm talking about the average joe... The non-believers...

ebomania said...

Well said.

I think there's a liturgical swing to an extent that some people (having been dismayed by modernism) have forgotten why there is rubric and the final goal of worhsip.

It's almost as if they've forgotten the point and adore the mechanisms and furnishings.

:(